Donald Trump claimed California is “begging” for a see-through border wall with Mexico during a trip to view prototypes in San Diego.
The US President has retained his election commitment to build a wall along the California-Mexico border and went so far as to claim on Tuesday: “If you don’t have a wall system, you won’t have a country”.
While viewing prototypes for the wall, he said: “They have a lot of problems in Mexico, they have a lot of problems over there, they have the cartels
“We’re fighting the cartels and we are fighting them hard, nobody fought them like we fought them.
“If you didn’t have a wall system it would be bedlam I imagine.”
He added: “The state of California is begging us to build walls in certain areas, they won’t tell you that, but we said no we won’t do it until we build the whole wall.
“There are certain areas where they are really wanting us to build a wall because people are complaining, people are pouring in.”
Mr Trump flew to San Diego to view several prototypes measuring 30ft-tall (9m), and asked which of them would be hardest to climb.
He noted the wall would have to be see-through, even though he would prefer it to be fully concrete.
He said: “The ones that work the best aren’t necessarily the most expensive, that’s what I like.”
Mr Trump also criticised California governor Jerry Brown, saying he was doing a “terrible” job. He added that he had a “great relationship” with the Mexican President, who he said was a good negotiator.
On his way to the viewing, Mr Trump tweeted: “California’s sanctuary policies are illegal and unconstitutional and put the safety and security of our entire nation at risk. Thousands of dangerous & violent criminal aliens are released as a result of sanctuary policies, set free to prey on innocent Americans. THIS MUST STOP!”
Speaking later at California’s Marine Corps Air Station, the President suggested there could be a “space force” akin to the country’s air force.
He also said “very soon we’re going to Mars”, adding “you wouldn’t even be thinking about it” if Hillary Clinton had won the 2016 presidential election.
Sky News’ US correspondent Greg Milam said Mr Trump’s visit came after he had “upended the news agenda” by firing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
He said: “[The President] actually tweeted on the plane that this wall would pay for itself by cutting crime – well, he’s not got Congress or Mexico yet to pay for it so it might be handy if it pays for itself.
“But he believes that whatever wall they choose needs to be see-through, he says. He believes people will stand the other side throwing drugs over and if you can’t see that, it’s dangerous.
“He’s coming to a place that he hasn’t visited as president, where he is massively unpopular, where he lost by 4m votes in the election and a place where he faces huge resistance. But he thinks his core still believes in that wall and still wants it.”